Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 21:25:46 EST

(bathed in a stream of)  PURE HEAT  2CD (QR 17/18) Spring 1997 compilation
   16 different venues April-May 1997 + (1) Sapporo, Japan 1997
Tracks: 21   Times: 74/72   Source: Audience   Quality: Excellent

  The oft rumored and much-awaited compilation from the acclaimed
April-May '97 tour of the US (+1) lives up to the the hype and then
some. Flat out, this is easily the finest and most awe-inspiring 
COMPILATION of Dylan performances ever assembled, bar none.
Think of a dream show without the "usuals" (Watchtower, Silvio, H61,
LARS, RDW), then think of the best performances of the rarely-played, 
the debuts & the one-off performances. Add to this top-notch quality 
which consistently delivers from the opening track until the end with not
a dud among them. Then, sequence them in a way that puts together a 
dream show minus the "usuals" mentioned above (i.e. placed in context
of a regular Bob show) so they flow together perfectly. The sum of what
you get is a package that is a true testament to Bob Dylan's genius as 
an artist and a performer and (arguably?) certainly :-) establishes the 
current band as the finest and most versatile of all the ones he's worked
with. Each disk stands on its own but is best heard in its entirety. The 
sheer magic of the performances is incredible (I'm pulling no punches 
here), from the vocals, the harp playing, the instrumentation, everything, 
and the last 7 tracks on disk 2 had me (literally) shaking my head in 
amazement. The last track, MyBack Pages with Larry Campbell on violin,
is a stunning and beautiful climax to a Holy Grail-like set of performances.

The highest accolade I can offer:
1) Play this for your friends who aren't Dylan fans and don't be surprised if
    they become converts. 
2) If limited to bringing 10 CDs to a desert island, this would be one.

The track list:

Disk One:
Not Fade Away            - Hartford, CT    19 April
Pretty PeggyO            - Albany, NY      10 April
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere  - Huntsville, ALA  3 May
Every Grain Of Sand      - Bangor, ME       9 April
Pledging My Time         - Indiana, PA     22 April
O Babe It Ain't No Lie   - Durham, NH      11 April
Friend of the Devil      - Providence, RI  17 April (w/Larry on violin)
John Brown               - Northampton, Ma 15 April
Viola Lee Blues          - Sapporo, Japan  24 Feb 97 (live debut)
Roving Gambler           - Hartford, CT    19 April 
Desolation Row           - Moncton, New Brunswick, CA  5 April 
Disk 2:
Stone Walls & Steel Bars - Beverly Hills, CA 21 May   (live debut)
Love Minus Zero/No Limit - Bangor, ME         9 April
Wicked Messenger         - Indiana, PA       22 April (live debut)
Shooting Star            - Indiana, PA       22 April
Long Black Veil          - Wheeling, WV      28 April 
Born In Time             - Wayne, NJ         13 April
You're A Big Girl Now    - Providence, RI    17 April
This Wheel's On Fire     - W. Long Branch, NJ 20 April
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall - Portland, ME    10 April
My Back Pages            - Utica, NY         24 April 

  A word about the quality: it is so consistently excellent that it is hard
to imagine that there are much better circulating tapes around, and the
obvious care that was taken in selecting the best performances of each
song is to be applauded. This was obviously a labor of love for someone.

HOUSE OF THE BLUES  2CD  (No label)  Atlanta, GA  3Aug1996
    plus Vienna, VA 24Aug97 (3) +  "MyBlueEyedJane" original version
 Tracks: 19   Times: 72/57   Source: Video feed/AM transmission/Studio
 Quality: Excellent (8/3/96) / Very Good (8/24/97 / Exc (studio cut)
   The first "board" from 1996 (lucky us) comes as quite a shocker as
this apparently was uncirculating before now. The recording seems to be
taken from a videotape of the show and is excellent - full, spacious sound
that really "breathes," nice separation, distinct instrumentation and upfront
vocals that come through crisp and clear. This one has none of the
harshness or high-end bias that characterizes some "boards", and is very
well balanced  w/ a nice bottom end. Some hiss  (video noise?) but it barely
detracts and then only on the acoustic tracks (& is easily alleviated w/a bit
of the eq). Crowd noise is at a minimum and in the background. 

   As for the show, I recall the raves from those on the list who were lucky
enough to attend and posted about the show back in Aug96. Well, the
raves were well deserved. This is one of those you hear and think ,"I wish
I coulda been at this one," as the fun and sheer enjoyment at playing shines
through on every track. Some highlights for me: ShakeSugaree is given a
sweet country lilt, bouncy and rhythmic and it puts a grin on your face.
BigGirlNow is a real keeper, delicately sung with Bucky coaxing some
great sounds out of the pedal steel. A very slow & bluesy LotToLaugh follows,
seemingly lazy until you realize this is the effect they are going for. Some
nice jamming on this one. BootsOfSpanishLeather is hypnotic, a stunning
version done a bit more uptempo than normal w/ a heartfelt vocal by Bob.
The banjo-accompanied HollisBrown follows, haunting and full of dread, a
great arrangement. DontThinkTwice steals the show, as Bob obviously feels
the rising pulse of the crowd and builds each verse up  until the last one
just EXPLODES, and they then take off into some fancy picking. Best I've
heard. Maggie's is a bit different also, it sounds sharper w/a bit more of a
melody and some edgy, cutting guitar. SheBelongsToMe features some nice, 
Garcia-like guitar  figures and is sung very powerfully by Bob. His playing
on H61 is also  quite fine and features strong, confident leads. MyBack
Pages is a stunner,  with a magnificent harmonica solo and a vocal 
performance that drips with feeling.  Overall, a top notch performance and 
sound to match - a real treat. 

 Filler tracks are the 8/24/97 WolfTrap acoustic set (3)  from the 
transmission, and the original, unreleased version of  MyBlueEyedJane
w/Emmylou Harris on backing vocals, in outstanding studio quality. The
latter is sensational.

THE GENUINE BASEMENT TAPES 1-5  (Wild Wolf 6701-6705)
  BobDylan and the Band, Spring-Fall 1967, Saugerties, NY
Tracks: 104  Time: 5 hrs+   Source: Reel-Reel   Quality: VG>Exc
   A "genuine" re-issue of the original Scorpio release presenting the
legendary Basement Tapes sessions in the best quality around. Over
104 tracks spread nicely over 5 disks and including such unreleased
gems as SignOnTheCross & I'mNotThere(1956), not to mention may
wild, alternate versions of what appeared on the official Basement 
Tapes release and numerous covers like BigRiver, YoungButDaily
Growing, AllYouHaveToDoIsDream, etc. The set is too overwhelming
to go into detail, suffice it to say that each disk is stellar and the set
as a whole is "required" listening. Disk 3 of the set is now in stereo.
Quality is very good to excellent throughout, though certainly not
official release quality. John Howell's has reviewed this set song by 
song and his "essay" can be found on his excellent BRINGING IT 
ALL BACK HOME Dylan home page. Check "Links" on Expecting
Rain to find it.

HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED AGAIN  1CD  (Wild Wolf 6506)  June-Aug
  1965  tracks from original acetates, Columbia Studios, NYCity
Tracks: 13   Time: 70    Source: Acetates   Quality: Excellent but
expect some pops & clicks due to flaws in the acetate source
  Another "original" re-issue from the Scorpio folks, this one
the Highway61 acetate tracks, including different mixes, mono mixes,
outtakes & alternate/single versions. Quality is excellent but do expect
the flaws in the acetate to cause some pops and clicks, and there are
short periods in tracks 4-6 where a buzzing noise is evident. The
1) Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window
2) Killing Me Alive
3) Like A Rolling Stone
4) Ballad Of A Thin Man
5) Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
6) Highway 61 Revisited
7) Positively 4th Street
8) It Takes A Lot To Laugh
9) Tombstone Blues
10) Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window
11) Desolation Row (boiled guts of birds version)
12) Queen Jane Approximately
13) From A Buick 6

  A nice collection of things you may or may not have elsewhere. The
package features some wild color pics of Bob from this period and many
B&W pics from 1965 inside the studio. 

    Sounds - MACH 08/09)   Cardiff Int'l Arena, Wales, UK  3Oct1997 
   + various filler Summer/Fall 1997 (6) + complete Bologna, IT gig
    for the Pope (3) 27Sept97
Tracks: 25   Times: 70/75     Source: Audience/TV   Quality: VG++/EXC

  The complete Cardiff show presented in extremely good sound w/
upfront Bob vocals, great separation with the instruments clear, well-
defined and balanced, and a nice overall warmth to the recording. 
Arguably the best of the 4 UK shows in October (see the reviews),
and noted for the transcendent performance of BabyBlue and, IMO,
an equally grand MyBackPages. IWantYou is also a standout, despite
the fact that Bob completely forgets the first 2 lines and mumbles
unintelligible words before re-grouping nicely (how does he do that?).
Anyway, this will be a short one - this show is a good one, a fine
performance and the aforementioned tracks kick it up into heavenly
heights. Track List: SweetMarie/WantYou/TMama/BabyTonight/Silvio/

The filler (also excellent sound) is worth going into:
Cocaine/RGambler/BlindWillie from Bournemouth 1Oct, plus the one-off
'97 performance Rank Strangers To Me from London 10/5 (which is really
welcome after you read the review of the whole London show below).
Then, the creme de la creme of the filler: the high-lonesome sounding
"Long Black Veil" from Wheeling, WV  28Apr97 (also a one-off
performance)  and the truly incredible "One Of Us Must Know (Sooner or
Later)" from Scranton, PA 12Aug97 (performed only 1 other time, the
next night in Hershey!). AND, if that isn't enough to satisfy your
"jones," throw in the last 3 tracks from the Pope gig in drop-dead
perfect quality: Knockin'/Hard Rain & ForeverYoung. The cover graphics
are well worth mentioning, mimicing the legendary & colorful cut and
paste motif of the Sex Pistols debut album of the same name. All in
all, to borrow from John Lennon, a real "killer diller" of a set.

LOVESICK AT WEMBLEY  2CD (Crystal Cat 442-43)   London, UK
  5Oct97 + filler Bournemouth 1Oct (1), Cardiff  3Oct (5) & Pope Gig (3)
Tracks: 24     Times: 75/73     Source: Audience/TV  
Quality: Lame (Wembley)/ Exc (B'Mouth & Cardiff / OK: Pope
I'll cut to the chase: the Wembley part of this recording simply blows.
The sound is harsh and tinny with no bottom, the vocals are thin and
the whole thing is a disaster. This must be what it sounds like when
you have a "tin ear." Quite surprising, too, coming from a high-quality 
label like Crystal Cat. Perhaps I got a defective copy but I doubt it.
In the car, I had to turn the treble down to -10 and the bass up to +4
to make it listenable. In any case, the Wembley part of this set is a 
throwaway due to the sound. The same cannot be said about the filler
from B'Mouth & Cardiff, the quality of which is truly outstanding. These
6 tracks are top-notch and well-chosen: CocaineBlues from 1Oct and
the following from Cardiff: IWantYou, BabyTonight, StoneWalls, and
the classics previously mentioned in the Bollocks review, BabyBlue
& MyBackPages. I would even give these the nod over "Bollocks"
in the quality department. Not so the 3 Pope tracks, which are pristine
on the "Bollocks" but carry a fair amount of hiss on this collection. 
Despite the beautiful packaging with color photos from the gig,
imaginative graphics and a transcript of an interview as liner notes,
this one is for completists only. Its snazzy look belies the quality 
of most of the content.

OKAYAMA   2CD  (No label)  Okayama, Japan 13 Feb 97 + filler
    from 4 other Japan gigs Feb 1997
Tracks: 20   Times: 65/73    Source: Audience   Quality: Decent	
 A direct clone of the Japanese set "Hollis Brown At Ivy," same
tracks, same sound.  Refer to DEEP #55 (1997), which contains 
the review of that disk. The same holds true for this clone of it.


1995 1996 1997 1998 T-list CDs